NFL Draft 101

As the NFL postseason heats up and the final standings start to take shape, the one thing on everyone’s mind is what can my team do to improve? If your team missed the playoffs, the answer is simple…a lot. In a league with so much parody a team that finishes 3-13 could easily improve to a 10-win team with the addition of just a few pieces. Maybe it is a new quarterback your team needs? Maybe the defense truly lacks a franchise leader? Whatever that need might be, the best risk-reward ratio to fix your team starts with the NFL Draft.

*Disclaimer* These takes are from a 100% media perspective, not a scouting perspective. I do not have the resources, tape, or time that NFL Scouts have, nor do the social media accounts that claims to have the best scouting online. I do, however, have great sources within the media than can help persuade my thoughts and opinions of who is going to fit where, or what a certain team thinks of these guys.

The talk of the draft since August had been Defensive Lineman, but I think this might be one of the deepest running back classes in years. There may not be a prominent Ezekiel Elliott type prospect, but the more I study this class and realize “wow he’s going early too”, it just reemphasizes my belief. Guys like Benny Snell, Josh Jacobs, Trayveon Williams and Damian Harris torched the SEC and still have so much potential to be starting NFL feature backs. The defensive line still may be the strongest position in the draft, but don’t sleep on this RB class.

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There are a couple of studs, but the secondary group is rather weak. I think guys like Greedy Williams and Deionte Thompson will soon be all pros, but once you start looking at the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th guy it really deteriorates. The offensive line class seems rather slim as well, but there are a few first rounder’s hidden in there.

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Boldest Prediction
Quarterback goes first overall.
I really don’t like Josh Rosen and if I’m a Cardinals fan I wouldn’t either. This is a new regime in Arizona with newly hired coach Kliff Kingsbury, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he wanted to start off his offense with Josh Rosen. I know the talk of the town is Nick Bosa #1, but don’t be shocked if cards take a quarterback. The front office did take Rosen last year in the first round, so they may want to give him a couple more chances with an improved offensive line, but it was pretty clear he struggled to do anything with two former all-pro’s as his primary weapons. What if Kingsbury wanted to give Kyler Murray a shot in his Big 12 friendly, air raid offense? I don’t think Kyler is worth a first round pick, mostly due to his durability. He may measure in at 5’10”, even though I think he may be closer to 5’9” and only around 200 lbs. He is currently the hot topic, but the draft is very far away and I do not believe he will be taken in the top 32.
If the Cardinal’s don’t want to replace Rosen, there is a high chance they could trade their pick to someone who is a little more desperate. A QB has gone top 2 in the last 5 years, and the one year there wasn’t one selected he was taken 3rd overall. If the Cards don’t want a QB, there is a good chance they trade back.

Safest Bet
Nick Bosa is the first non QB drafted. He’s definitely the most polished and NFL ready prospect, and he certainly has the lineage to make him the top pick. He’ll be a starter week 1, barring injury.

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Biggest Sleeper
N’Keal Harry. I think this guy will be a star. I think he should be taken inside the top 5 picks. He has amazing physical traits, which are paired with the best hands in the draft. He reminds me of a Julio Jones type frame, who can be dynamic from any position on the field. I think Harry could be selected by the Jets third overall, and could become Darnold’s long time safety net.

Biggest Bust
Rashan Gary. I think there are so many better options on the DLine, but the Michigan bias will lead someone to take him very early. He’s a mid-second round grade and I think a team would be much wiser to take someone like Ed Oliver.

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Most to Prove Before Draft Night
The quarterbacks. I really like this quarterback class. I think there is a lot of raw talent and potential as well as a few who can step in right away. Haskins is the media’s front runner, but he could end up being taken outside the top 3. He looks great on paper, but I am eager to see what teams end up doing after interviews, the combine and pro days. This time last year Baker Mayfield was outside the top 3 and Sam Darnold vs Josh Allen was the only discussion. Kyler Murray might have enough of the “Wow Factor” to be thrown in the mix of first rounders. Daniel Jones and Clayton Thorson are true grit guys who will be lauded for their off the field work ethic and on the field toughness. Jarrett Stidham may have the best mechanics in the class. Will Grier has the clutch gene and will turn some heads. The QB order is far from finished.

Image from Getty Images.

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